Offshore natural gas finds have been among the big stories in the sector over the past several years. The Italian oil company ENI reports 40 trillion cubit feet (tcf) of recoverable natural gas and American giant Anadarko reports 30tcf.
These projections, if proven, would place Mozambique among the top fifteen countries in total gas reserves.
Unlike coal where massive investments have already been made, the future of the gas sector is far less clear. Although exploration has led to ever-expanding reserves, it is important to note that no company has yet made the formal decision to develop a liquid natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique.
One of Mozambique’s top economists, Firmino Mucavele, has warned that, despite the rapid development of the mining industry, Mozambique will go nowhere if it does not build up its agriculture. Cited by Radio Mozambique, Mucavele, who was recently distinguished by NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) for his work on agricultural development, warned that you can’t eat minerals – minerals run out, and the resources derived from mining do not guarantee food security.
According to Mucavele, “70 to 80 per cent of the investment in mineral resources is foreign and only 20 per cent of the returns stay in Mozambique”.
Congrats to David Smith for his excellent article, challenging many of us in development in Mozambique and other resource rich countries to ask the ever mosre important question — who will gain from all of this future wealth?
Check out David’s article at :
Thomas Friedman is right. It is only “great to have oil, gas and diamonds,” if “they’re used to build schools and a culture of lifelong learning.
In Mozambique, the prospect of billions of dollars of revenues from recently discovered natural gas and coal present a tremendous developmental opportunity for investment in future generations.
Many of us could spend a few moments daydreaming about winning the lottery or finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But in resource rich countries like Mozambique, the discovery of coal and natural gas, among other mineral resources, can place a Government within a tempest of rapidly evolving circumstances where decisions with regard to the legal, policy and fiscal regimes can mean the difference between sustainable development for all or battling the resource curse for decades to come.